Sedona Real Estate News & Info From A to Z

Quick Tips for Adding Resale Value To Your Sedona Home

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Quick Tips for Adding Resale ValueWhen you’re in a hurry to sell, you need top dollar, try some of these tips:

  1. Have me evaluate your home. As a real estate professional, I know what sells and what doesn’t and we can help you spend your money wisely to get the best return.
  2. Have a home inspection. A certified home inspector can point out areas that need correcting, fixing or removing.
  3. Paint walls a neutral but modern color. Gone are the days of all white walls, but sticking to taupe and gray tones gives a hint of freshness while remaining timeless.
  4. Request a home energy audit. Most utility companies offer this service. Sometimes simple lighting changes or additions to insulation give your home a higher energy rating and make it more attractive to buyers.
  5. Clean up landscaping and add regionally appropriate, low maintenance ground cover.
  6. If your home has “popcorn” texture on the ceiling, removing it and replacing it with a smooth or more modern texture will increase home value. Before you DIY this, however, make sure that your ceiling texture is not made with asbestos. Up until the late 70s, many textured ceiling preparations used asbestos flakes. If your home is newer than this, you’re probably fine doing this on your own, but if your home is older, higher a licensed professional with experience in asbestos removal and disposal.
  7. Replace your roof. If you live in a storm-prone area, your roof may have hail or wind damage that you cannot see. Have your roof inspected (most roofing contractors do this for free) and if your roof has storm damage, contact your homeowners insurance to see about getting it replaced. Often, storm damage replacement is time sensitive, so if you’ve had a heavy hail or windstorm, do not delay in having your roof evaluated or you may end up paying for it yourself. A new roof may not allow you to increase your sale price, but a damaged roof will lower your home’s value.
  8. Remove dated wallpaper. Simple removing outdated, stained, peeling, or faded wallpaper from kitchens, baths and bedrooms gives the home a fresher, less outmoded look. Instead of replacing it with new wallpaper, simply finish and paint the area with a neutral color in an appropriate finish.
  9. Replace light fixtures. Ceiling and vanity lights that you replace with high-efficiency fixtures upgrades your home with very little expense and bring your home into the compact fluorescent era. Upgrading exterior lights with automatic lighting options adds a safety factor to your home’s exterior while reducing energy costs.
  10. Expose your hardwood. If you have hardwood flooring hiding underneath stained, faded or worn carpeting, remove the carpeting and expose the hardwood. If you can refinish the floor, do so, but even if you cannot, you can use some quick fix options to make your wood floors look inviting when your home is showing.

When in doubt, refer to number one above: call me. I will help you determine the best options for your home.

See my section on “Sellers” to get more information that will help you sell your home.  Scroll to the bottom to “Other Forms & Checklists to Assist the Seller”.

 

Compliments of Virtual Results

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Choosing the Right Paint

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Choose the Right PaintWhether you’re preparing your home to move in, or preparing it to sell, choosing the right paint from the myriad choices available to day can be daunting. Paints come in up to six different finishes, so even if you’ve chosen the colors, you still have to decide on the finish for your application.

On a gradient from matte or flat to high gloss, there are both textural and visual differences in paint finishes. In texture, the gradient moves from a “dryer” feel to a “slicker” feel, but visually, it moves from less light reflective to more light reflective.

 

  • Matte Finish: Called either Flat Finish or Wall Paint, this basic paint type has a chalkier feel and is not light reflective. It also hides imperfections, cracks and bumps because light does not bounce off them. This finish works well on interior walls such as living rooms and bedrooms, but can be more difficult to clean and may mark easily. Because it absorbs rather than reflects light, a darker matte-finish paint color is perfect for a media room.
  • Flat Enamel Finish: The addition of the enameling elements combines some of the advantages of flat paint with a more durable finish that holds up to periodic cleaning. This is a good choice for interior walls in homes with children. Sometimes this is called “Kids Room Paint.”
  • Eggshell Finish: Slightly more durable and light reflective than matte or flat, eggshell has just a minimal amount of gloss added to it, and a deeper color saturation. It holds up to cleaning better and often works well for living rooms and dining rooms where more light-reflection is desirable but a glossier finish is not necessary.
  • Satin Finish: Often used for window and door trim, or ceilings needing a more reflective finish such as a the bath area or a workroom, satin finish holds up to cleaning and resists stains, marks and smudges better than matte, flat enamel or eggshell.
  • Semi-gloss Finish: Used for trim, doors, cabinets and railings, semi-gloss resists most stains and marks while cleaning more easily. It reflects and refracts light, so it magnifies imperfections or textures in the surface. When using semi-gloss, care with surface preparation is vital to the finished product. Semi-gloss can work well in bath areas too, where a more reflective surface is helpful to make the room lighter and brighter.
  • Glossy Finish: When applied properly, glossy or high gloss paints have a reflective surface similar to enamel, and creates a smooth finish for furniture and cabinetry. Because of its light-reflective quality, a glossy finish reveals and amplifies imperfections, but is the easiest surface to clean. When using high-gloss paints, carefully follow preparation instructions to get the best results.

In Sedona homes for sale, I have found that choosing the right paint can help sell your home faster and for a higher price.  Staying with neutral colors will be most appealing to a variety of potential customers.  Buyers on the other hand, are hoping to add that little something extra to make the home theirs.  Paint is the easiest way to accomplish this feat.

 

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What to Know about Summer Lawn Care

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What to Know about Summer Lawn CareLush greens and rolling verdant fairways stoke homeowner dreams of the perfect lawn. This holds true in Sedona as in most areas. Though, many homes have desert landscaping in the front and backyard, so a green lawn can be very novel in Sedona and other desert areas such as Phoenix and Tucson. For most areas, July starts the season with the highest demand on the water supply. So maintaining those lavish landscapes takes knowledge and a plan. In Sedona,  our two driest months are May and June. Monsoon helps to eleviate the burden of water consumption in our desert areas.

Planting

Not all grasses are equal. When designing your lawn, be sure to use a grass that tolerates your climate. If you spent your childhood in one part of the country and have visions of a deep dark thick-bladed St. Augustine as your ideal lawn, but now live in a more drought prone area, where a Bermuda may be the optimal choice. The wrong grass species can increase watering and feeding requirements and reduce your enjoyment of your lawn.

Consult a local turf expert before you order seed or sod and end up with a lawn-care nightmare.

Watering

Drought or wet conditions in your location determine how often your lawn needs watering. With drought conditions being widespread, however, you may only have one or two days per week that you’re allowed to water, so it is important to maximize your results.

  • When to water: If walking across your lawn leaves visible depressions in the grass and blades don’t pop back up immediately, your grass needs water.
  • Water summer grasses once every three days (or as allowed by your city’s watering plan).
  • Use sprinklers designed to deliver larger droplets nearer to ground. Mist and small drops evaporate more quickly than large drops. For more information on sprinkler systems, read the section below.

Irrigation Tips

Install sprinklers based on your property’s topographic needs. Consult and expert for your area even if you plan to install the system yourself. Most manufacturers can help you develop a plan and offer custom-designed systems for you.

Once installed, check your sprinkler heads often. Adjust sprinklers to water only your lawn sidewalks or the side of the house. If water runs down the street, both your frequency and spray may need adjusting.

  • Only apply water as fast as the soil absorbs it.
  • If you have water runoff, divide watering times into shorter periods.
  • Adjust your watering schedule each month to match seasonal conditions and landscape requirements.
  • Have your system checked yearly for leaks and broken parts.

Water Saving Tips

Periodically aerating your lawn allows water to seep to the roots rather than run off the surface. A pattern of holes every six inches provides excellent root access for most lawns.

Avoid cutting lawn too low. When you cut to a height lower than 1.5 to 2 inches, grass blades can no longer shade the soil, allowing water to evaporate more quickly. When you mow, leave the clippings on the lawn to further protect the soil and hold in moisture.

We can help you find a property with the lawn of your dreams, so give us a call today.

Compliments of Virtual Results.

Creating Buyer Attraction for Summer Outdoor Living

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Creating Summer Buyer AttractionSummer Outdoor Living – What could be better!

I love to garden. Sedona is a great place to experience the 4 seasons.  I recently told my husband that I would not own another home without an outdoor courtyard.  When we first looked at this home the courtyard was overgrown but I could see the possibilities.  I was excited to see the rest of the home.

Summer is a great time to invest in outdoor upgrades and indoor options that make your home appealing to buyers. After months indoors, homebuyers respond quickly to outdoor amenities when scoping out homes to buy. Creating outdoor living areas and highlighting outdoor views give potential new owners the impression of both expanded space and bright, fresh access to nature.

Establish an inviting entry

Make sure your entry is bright and enticing. Set flowerpots to either side of the entryway. Make sure the door itself is clean of fingerprints and grime, or freshly painted a cheery color. Provide a doormat so guests do not track debris into your home.

Bring the outdoors in

In the winter, homeowners often cover windows with heavy drapes to keep out the chill air and drafts. When showing your home in the summer, remove heavy draperies so potential buyers can clearly see the outdoor views. Clean off fingerprints and smudges from windows and window frames and dust vertical or horizontal blinds and set them to allow both light and views.

Add colorful summer-weight throw cushions to living areas and beds, and add flowers to both your bed and bath areas. A bowl of bright seasonal fruits completes a summery look to your kitchen table.

Store away quilts and afghans. Clean ashes from your fireplace and clean the soot from fireplace glass to remove the last vestiges of winter. Set a floral arrangement or plant on the hearth. Use light, fresh scented beads or reed diffusers instead of candles. Use the same scent throughout the house to avoid competing odors.

Keep your home cool but not cold. If you have air-conditioning, make sure to set it to cool your home in plenty of time before your potential buyers arrive. If you use fans to move your home’s air, make sure they are dust free and running quietly. Be sure attic fans and other cooling devices operate correctly.

Extend the living area

Showing your home in the summer means potential buyers will check out the outdoors much more thoroughly than in the winter months. Set up seating areas, hammocks, picnic tables, or other patio furnishings to display the full range of your property. Add planters and box gardens with bright, colorful flowers. Keep the lawn and landscaping trimmed and neat. Take care of pests like wasps and ants that might scare a potential buyer away. Take care to trim bushes away from windows and doorways.

Make sure the exterior of the house is clean and fresh. Clean mold off vinyl siding and moss off brick and stone exteriors. Clear gutters and downspouts and make sure they attach to the structure correctly. Wash windows and screens, and touch up paint on doors, window frames, and trim.

Make sure to organize tools, hoses, and other yard and garden clutter. Protect visitors to your home from tripping over lawn toys or the garden hoe. Remember that buyers want to check out every nook and cranny, so keep garden sheds and storage areas accessible and organized.

Summer buyers want to know they can use the entire property for their own summer fun. If you need more suggestions on how to prepare your property for a summer sale, contact Sheri today.  I have just added some additional features to the seller page to assist in the preparation of your home.

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Is Your House the Right Investment to Fund Retirement?

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Is Your House the Right Investment to Fund Retirement?For many people, your home is your largest asset. Like your parents, and grandparents before them, you expect your home—in some way—to fund your retirement. For some of you, that means selling the home near retirement and relocating, using the funds to purchase a smaller home with money left over to live on. For others, you plan to live in your paid-off home until you die. Some of you aren’t sure how it all works; you just know that home ownership is supposed to be a great investment.

Is it an asset?

When listing your assets and liabilities, most of you list your home’s value as an asset. But for retirement purposes, you need to rethink that idea. If you use your home as an asset, then you must have some other place to live for free during retirement (living with your kids?) once you sell it to retrieve the money invested in it: the money you’ll use to pay medical bills, travel, expenses, vacations, etc. There is much more to consider when thinking about your home as a retirement investment.

Location

Is your home in the place you think you’ll live during your retirement years? You may think so when you buy it, but as your children move to other cities, or your bodies rebel against harsh winters or sweltering summers, you may need to consider different locations for retirement. An option is to purchase a vacation home in the area you think you’ll retire. Then, as the time comes, you can sell your primary home and live in the vacation home.

Equity

Often, you think your investment equity is the same as the home’s value. If the home isn’t paid off, though, your investment is only what you can sell for less the amount owed. If the plan is to sell your home and reinvest in a retirement condo, for example, after paying off the mortgage and fees and the full amount for the condominium, you may have less left over than you’re planning on.

Reverse Mortgage

Touted as a way to stay in your home during retirement, some of you may opt for a reverse mortgage. While a reverse mortgage offers two advantages (stay in your home and receive an income payment) they do not typically give you access to the full value of your home’s equity. When participating in a reverse mortgage, your estate or your heirs must repay the loan, or forfeit the home upon your death. Before considering a reverse mortgage, make sure your heirs understand they will not inherit your home free and clear. 

Plan now 

I have personal experience in this area. My husband and I started looking for retirement property 10 years before our plan to retire and relocate.  We visited many states and cities with the express purpose of where the right spot would be to retire.  The decision to purchase our Sedona property was made keeping in mind the intent of getting older.  We wanted a property that was turn key with easy maintenance inside and out.

We can help you plan the right home purchase to meet your needs now and as retirement nears. Contact Sheri Sperry and we’ll start working with you today to set your plans in motion.  It is never too early to Plan!  

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Rearranging Deck Chairs on the Titanic

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Rearranging furnituresOkay, so it’s not the Titanic. It’s your new house and you can’t seem to make your older furniture fit. Buying new furniture is out of the question, so how do you make your round pegs fit into those square holes?

Make a plan

Literally … make a floor plan. This can be a rough sketch, or a sophisticated layout, but having a floor plan helps you visualize your options. You can find some useful tools on the Internet to create a basic layout and add virtual furniture. Here is a list of programs to choose from with different options.

Create a couple of options. Since a floor plan doesn’t give you a sense of height, you may need to try taller or shorter pieces in various locations to see what works for you.

Have an open mind

When your new space is a different shape from your old space, you need to change how you think about space. Often, we place our seating furniture against one wall and our entertainment center opposite and fit everything else in-between. Consider different groupings for different purposes. Do you watch TV with a large group of friends, or just the two of you at the end of the day? If it’s just the two of you, group your favorite seating with your entertainment area and move other seating to the opposite end of the room as a conversation area.

Empty the room

When the movers place everything in the room, the extra boxes, bunched up furniture and general clutter hampers your ability to visualize arrangement options. Move as many boxes and furniture out of the room as possible and bring them in one at a time as you form your arrangement.

Place large pieces first

Set your sofas, cabinets, large storage pieces and tables first. Try the different options from your plans to see which one feels right. Don’t be afraid to use a large shelf as a room divider. If your new living room is much longer than your old one, you may find it cozier to split it up. Group a couple of chairs near a window for reading or set two sofas back to back … one for watching television and one for conversation.

On a side note: wait to hang pictures and wall ornaments until you’re satisfied with the basic furniture arrangement—it saves repairing holes in the walls.

Don’t hug the walls

Free up your options by moving furniture away from the walls. There is no rule stating that the sofa must be against a wall. Bring your seating toward the center of the room anchored by a rug, coffee table or trunk. Check out these images for ideas.

Try again…

Once you’ve set up an arrangement, try it for a week or so. Adjust your smaller pieces—lamps, side tables, smaller bookshelves and artwork—to compliment the larger pieces. If it feels crowded after a week, consider removing a piece. If it seems off-balanced, try placing larger pieces opposite of each other. If it feels empty, consider a piece of furniture or décor to fill the void … then start shopping. But don’t buy until you’re sure it’s what you want. After a few months, you may change your mind or feelings about the arrangement.

Therapy

For those of you that love to rearrange furniture—you know who you are—your spouse or significant other (or friend you always call to help you move things) will thank you for using the planning tools and ideas ahead of time.

Let’s not forget that many homes in Sedona Arizona are considered second homes.  Someday, those same homes may be your retirement home.  Be careful to not over do the amount of furniture you place in your Sedona home.  At some point you may find yourself downsizing.

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L’Auberge de Sedona ~ Summer Brunch on the Creek

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 You hardly know you are nestled among the magnificent red rocks of Sedona when you are on Oak Creek at the L’Auberge de Sedona Resort.  

The setting is perfect for a summer respite from the warm temperatures that summer brings.  You sit under mature Oak, Sycamore, and Cottonwood trees which offer shade from the sun.

Oak Creek Homes for sale

The creek flows over rocks and through boulders. As the water careens off those rocks, a slight mist develops and provides a cool breeze as the surrounding air is stirred. Could the backdrop be any more perfect?

LAuberge de Sedona

 

 

It had been a long while since our last dining experience at L’Auberge, which I might say, was very memorable. It was time to enjoy a celebration of the season. We knew from experience, this was a great time to visit L’Auberge de Sedona.  I was anxious as I was making reservations.  Would we be able to be seated early?   Would there even be a table left by the creek?

Fortunately, they were able to accommodate us, but seating by the creek is first come first serve.  The first seating was at  9:30 am.  We decided to arrive ½ hour before the seating to make sure we had a spot on Oak Creek.  As we were walking to the Hostess Table, we could see many tables already taken.  We could not have timed it better.  A superb table was waiting for us!  How fortuitous was that?

LAuberge de Sedona  World Class Service, that is what you can expect and get when you dine on the creek.  We never had to ask for something unless the staff asked us a specific question.  Drinks were filled well before they were empty.  The food was scrumptious. You can find the menus here.

For Father’s Day, the carving station featured: Rosemary Glazed Prime Rib, Natural Turkey, and Pine Smoked Lamb Roast. Other hot entreés included: Shrimp Andouille, Seared Scallops, Chicken Fried Chicken, Crispy Pork Belly, Pork Ribs, Black Rice, Lobster Mac & Cheese, Oven Roasted Baby Vegetables.  Is your mouth watering yet? Of course there is the cold seafood as well, Including: Smoked Salmon, Seared Ahi Tuna, Crab Claws, and Large Cocktail Shrimp, and Oysters.  There were too many other delectable foods and desserts to mention.

Another Nice Surprise

craneCheck out the crane looking for a meal, while we meandered by the creek after brunch.

Oak Creek There is a great little sitting with a swinging bench that you can enjoy while watching the water cascade down the creek.

If you decide to try the dining experience at L’Auberge de Sedona, you will not be disappointed.  Make sure you bring your camera for some great photos. Valet parking is complimentary and there is no tipping allowed.  Enjoy a wonderful experience at this fabulous resort.

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Pinterest for Home Buyers and Sellers

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Sheri Sperry Sedona Realtor on PinterestPinterest for Home Buyers

See Sheri Sperry ~ SellSedona.com on Pinterest to get great ideas.  there are many boards that pertain to real estate and others have great pictures of Sedona and Arizona.

Some people are great at articulating exactly what they want in their next home. But some of us know what we want yet find it tough to explain that vision to someone else. It usually comes out something like this: “I’ll know it when I see it.” But seeing tons of listings can be frustrating and can waste your time unnecessarily. Enter Pinterest – the social network that lets you collect all those dream house mental pictures that are often hard to put into words.

Pinterest has become a favorite online hang-out for home buyers and those who plan to build or remodel a home. After all, knowing what you want is half the battle in finding or creating it. With a few simple searches, Pinterest users are exposed to thousands of photos they can use as inspiration in their house hunt. High-end and creative home features are one of the most heavily populated areas of Pinterest so there’s no shortage of ideas to sift through. Some users have created virtual “pin boards” for each room of their dream house and yard, making it easier to organize ideas and find them later. Do a simple search for “bathroom” in the search bar and you’ll find everything from rustic cabin outhouses to over-the-top luxury master suites.

If you’re having a tough time explaining your vision to your Realtor®, consider sharing your Pinterest photos with him or her. Seeing what you like best can guide your agent’s selections for which listings are most likely to interest you. Of course, no one can make every Pinterest dream come true in one house, but it’s a good way to get on the same page and narrow down the choices of which houses to see and which ones to skip. Pinterest photos can also guide your decisions when looking for a house with “good bones” that can be remodeled into your dream house.

Buyers & Sellers

ReMax Sedona
This is what one of your boards might look like. You could separate out each style such as home exteriors, kitchens, baths, fireplaces, light fixtures etc.

Check out my page on Pinterest to get some ideas of your own. WOW Factor Homes & Extras on Pinterest. Not sure how to make it easy?  Go to Pinterest Basics and follow the directions for your preferred browser.

Pinterest for Home Sellers

For sellers, Pinterest can be a great way to get insight on what potential buyers are hoping to find during their house hunt. If the same type of living room photo keeps cropping up on Pinterest, you can bet it’s representative of a style that’s trending right now. Consider using that photo as a guide for how you might update, rearrange or stage your own living room to reflect the current trend. Pay special attention to wall colors, room layout, window treatments and floor coverings. Appeal to visual thinkers by making your home’s online photos as “pin-worthy” as possible.

Cleaning and organization are also huge areas of interest for Pinterest users, and the tips found in these “pins” can help as you prepare to put your house on the market. Clutter and half-hearted cleaning attempts can thwart a deal with potential buyers. Use the tips collected on hundreds of Pinterest boards to find new ideas for eliminating cluttered areas. You’ll also find innovative ways for simple household fixes like repairing nail holes, cleaning baseboards and dusting window blinds – all things that discerning home buyers will notice.

Whether you’re buying, selling, building, remodeling or just plain “nesting,” Pinterest might become your favorite online tool for finding inspiration, advice and friends who share your vision.

How to Prepare for Emergencies in Your New Home (Part 3)

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How to Prepare for Emergencies in Your New Home (Part 3)If you already own that select property here in Sedona, you may think that a lot of these topics do not apply to you.  On June 15th, we enter the monsoon season in Arizona and though Sedona does not always get the brunt of the storms, we can get micro bursts where the heavens open up and the rain pours very hard for a short time.  Flash flooding is possible so we want you to be prepared.  You can go to Rick’s World Sedona for up-to-date weather information, weather almanac as well as past weather conditions .

The last in our series, preparing for emergencies in your new home means taking extra measure to protect your investment. Surviving a disaster is just the first part. Recovering takes longer and requires more advance planning. Start by designing your home to help you survive. Here are suggestions to get you on your way.

Prepare for Damage:

1. Reinforce your home:

  • Hurricanes — Check these main areas for weakness
    • Roof: Determine what type of roof you have and what type of bracing you can employ to strengthen it against strong winds.
    • Windows and Doors: Windows or doors broken during a hurricane make your house particularly vulnerable. If wind and water come into the house, they put pressure on your walls and roof and increase your chance of damage. Investigate the structure of your doors and windows to determine if a reinforcing bolt kit and storm shutters are improvements worth investing in.
    • Remember to check your garage door too! Many local governments require garage doors to be able to withstand high winds — learn about your local building codes and find out if your garage door comes equipped or if you need a retrofit kit to stabilize your door.
  • Tornadoes, Strong Winds and Hailstorms
    • Roof: Learn the impact resistance of your roofing type and investigate the possibility of making improvements. If upgrades are not an option, simply knowing what damage you might incur will help you prepare financially for any possibilities.
    • Storm-scape: If you live in a storm-risk location, invest in yard upkeep to prevent additional damage. Eliminate trees that may fall on your home and keep stray or dead branches in check with regular trimming. Consider switching from rock and gravel to wood chips or bark in landscaping to avoid additional damage from harsh objects hitting your home in strong winds.
    • Furniture: Review the location and sturdiness of your furniture. Always secure large or heavy pieces to the wall or floor. If you receive warning in time, move furniture away from doors and windows before the storm hits.
  • Flood — Floods can accompany a large storm
    • Roof: Learn the impact resistance of your roofing type and investigate the possibility of making improvements. If upgrades are not an option, simply knowing what damage you might incur will help you prepare financially for any possibilities.
    • Purchased Homes: If you moved into a home in a flood prone area, improve your security by using waterproofing compounds to seal the walls in your basement.
    • Plumbing and Drainage: You may want to install “check-valves” for sewage traps to avoid back up into your drains. Consult with your local plumber to learn about the options for your home.
  • Earthquake
    • Verify Stability: Check your home’s roof, walls, foundations, chimney, brickwork and other areas requiring fortification. Owners living in older, pre-1935 homes should verify that their house is bolted to the foundation.
    • Furniture and Appliances: Fasten heavy furniture to the floor or wall if possible, and secure appliances that may damage utility lines if they move around. Use patchable cabinetry and get in the habit of placing heavy objects on lower shelves throughout your home.
    • Know Where to Go: Make sure you follow the Drop, Cover, and Hold On! instructions and teach your family members what to do. Identify the most secure furniture and teach children to crawl under it. If no sturdy furniture is available, crouch down near a solid interior wall.
  • Fire

    • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home. Ideal placement is in or outside all sleeping areas. Habituate monthly battery tests for your alarms and change batteries twice yearly at the time change.
    • Create a map or floor plan of your home with windows and doors in each room clearly identified. Designate two escape routes from each room each room. Practice exiting through both doors and windows.
    • Install an escape ladder in upper-story bedrooms and teach family members how to use it.
    • Choose a family meeting place outside where everyone can meet.

2. Get Insurance:

Typically, standard homeowners’ insurance does not cover damage caused by all natural disasters. Tornadoes tend to be covered, but flooding, hailstorms, and earthquakes may not be on the list. Check your homeowners’ insurance policy and speak with your insurance carrier about increasing your protection.

3. Start a Rainy Day Fund for Your Home:

It is never too early to start an emergency fund for your home. Many think it will not happen to them, but a lack of funds for home repairs can easily strip your family of financial security in the moment and for years to come. After putting your heart and soul into your home, you do not want to lose it all. Research the damage most likely to occur to your home given your location, possible risks, and home structure. With that information, you can begin estimating possible costs of damage and start building your fund.

4. Participate in Community Preparedness:

Get Involved In your community’s safety. Visit your local American Red Cross or community center and learn about taking classes to prepare you to help yourself and your neighbors in an emergency. The American Red Cross advises certifying yourself in CPR and First Aid so you can confidently assist those in need. Often, local community centers provide training and host drills to help you navigate the city in the event of an evacuation or need for shelter outside your home.

 

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What Gen Y Looks for in a Home to Buy

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shutterstock_88130497If you’ve lived in your home for some time, you notice when the neighborhood around you is changing to a younger demographic. Thinking this might be a good time to sell, you wonder what was so appealing about the house down the street to the young couple that just moved in.

The first thing you need to understand is that trying to put Gen Y’s—or so called “Millennials”—into a box may only lead to frustration when trying to sell your home. According to Forbes, the millennial generation, those born between 1980 and 2000, accounts for 4 in 10 of the US population. So before you run to the local DIY or call a contractor, talk to us first. We can help you determine the most important changes, upgrades or improvements to put your home on the Gen Y radar. Using recent comparables in your neighborhood, we can show you how your home stacks up, and recommend the appropriate fixes.

Functional Spaces

The most important prized priority in a home is functionality. Informality rules the day and a flexible layout strikes a positive chord with millennials that want room for a home theatre, game space, and home office rather than a formal living or dining room. So, even if you have formal spaces in your home, staging them so that a Gen Y buyer can see dual or multi-purpose can add appeal. They may not otherwise visualize an office in the corner of the dining room opposite a game table if your formal dining suite completely fills the space. Add shelving and a small desk area to a corner of the living or dining room, or even in a kitchen nook.

Entertainment Space

The second item a younger buyer looks for is entertainment space. For some, a patio with a hot tub and barbeque pit fills the bill, while others prize an open kitchen with room for guests to socialize over food preparation. Stage your kitchen with a mobile island and stools, if they’ll fit.

Bright Hues

Generation Y tends to lean toward brighter colors and signature pieces of art. If your home already has color, just refresh it with a new coat of paint. Conversely, if your home is mostly white, consider changing up the color to a warmer hue like these, or adding bright pops of color with pillows, strategically placed flowers, a bowl of apples or pomegranates.

Retro-Style

Many millennials are drawn to older styles in homes, decor and even vehicles. Many have adopted decor from the 60s and 70s in to their homes, and some even draw inspiration from the 50s. If your home is older and has original craftsmanship, detailing, or fixtures, don’t be afraid to highlight those when describing your home’s features. In fact, if you have covered over some of those architectural details, now might be the time to revisit that decision and bring them back out in the open.

Low Maintenance Exteriors

When thinking about changes to the exterior of your home, consider reducing the amount of upkeep required. This generation is all about the experience of life, so while they may want to put in their own vegetable garden, they usually don’t want to have to worry about annually repainting the house. If you are thinking of replacing siding, for instance, consider fiber cement siding that mimics wood, brick or stone, but is impervious to termites and fire, doesn’t require painting, and won’t rot. Before making a change, though, talk to us about the best return on your investment, not just its appeal to one group of buyers.

We can help you put your home in the best light to appeal to Generation Y, Generation X and even Boomers, so give us a call and we can talk about what you need to do next to sell you home.

How to Prepare for Emergencies in Your New Home (Part 2)

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How to Prepare for Emergencies in Your New HomeIn a new home or neighborhood, preparing for emergencies in advance might just save you or your family member’s life. In Part 2, we cover the basics for inside your house.

Know your home:

Learn how to turn off gas, electrical and water lines in the event a disaster damages power lines near your home. Memorize the easiest exits from all rooms in your home. Keep hallways and doorways clear of clutter on a regular basis to avoid family members being trapped, confused, or injured if the power goes out or during an emergency evacuation.

In a new home you go the builder will give you a walk-thru.  This is the time to make sure you are familiar with all utility shut offs. Especially water, gas and electric. In a resale home, you may not have that information.  During the inspection period, make sure the inspectors point out the shut off valves or switches.  Have the proper shut off tools in an easy access area.

Build A Kit

Create and maintain an emergency kit and keep your kit in an accessible place.

  • Water: Keep at least a 3-day supply of water for everyone in your family. This means 1 gallon of water, per person, each day.
    Ready.gov advises adding a small amount of household chlorine bleach and a medicine dropper to your kit. “When diluted, nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color-safe or bleaches with added cleaners.”
  • Medicine: Keep a 7+ day supply of any medicine your family needs.
  • Food: Keep a supply of non-perishable food that you can make easily.
  • Tools: Buy an extra tool set. Add any additional gear you may need specific to your emergency zone. Keep several flashlights, matches, a camera, whistle, dust masks, can opener and a map of the local area. Add to your set plenty of batteries (any type you need for a radio, hearing aids, cordless power supply, flashlights, etc.).
  • Clothing and Comfort: Prepare a 3+ day supply of varying types of clothing for each person in your family. Keep and emergency blanket and personal sanitation wipes and towels in the kit.
  • Radio: invest in a battery operated or hand-crank radio so you can stay informed.
  • Contacts: Buy an emergency cell phone (a pre-paid one works fine), keep it charged, and with your kit—keep a charger in the kit that you do not remove. Put all your emergency contacts in the phone AND in a notebook in the kit.
  • Paperwork: If possible, prepare copies of all important documents for you and your family.
  • Situation Specific: Remember to adjust the content of this kit for your situation and your family. If you have babies, elderly family members, or pets, if you live in the city or the country, in a single-family home or a multi-unit building the items you need for your kit will vary. Make sure you know what you need.
  • Pets: Many shelters cannot accommodate pets. Find pet-friendly shelters in advance and assemble a pet-specific kit to keep your “best friend” safe.

Involve Your Family

Do not wait until emergency strikes to make sure your family knows what to do. You might be prepared, but if the whole family is not on board it can be a struggle to keep everyone safe. Walk your children through the emergency process you design and make sure they have an understandable instruction manual to reference (we suggest images like on airplanes) if you are not home and they need to act. Post the instructions on the fridge, in the bathroom and on the interior of their bedroom door. Make sure they know exactly how to reach you and emergency services.

Prepare well in advance for important documents or treasured photos. An option is to store images of them on a cloud server accessible from any computer. That way, you are not tempted to waste time searching for them when you need to leave your home.

Compliments of Virtual Results and Sheri Sperry, Sedona Real Estate Expert

How to Prepare for Emergencies in Your New Home (Part 1)

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How to Prepare for Emergencies in Your New HomeWhen you move into your new home, you may not think to revise and update your emergency plan, but natural disasters strike without warning. Avoid being caught without a plan in place at your new address. Here are ten steps to take to make sure you are ready the day you move in and continue staying prepared to keep your family safe.

Plan for safety and make a plan:

Sounds simple, right? Despite all of the natural disasters, fires, storms and mishaps in the news, many people do not have a plan for where to go, what to do, and how to reconnect with family members.

1. Learn what disasters affect your area and stay in the loop to receive early warning. Local city or community websites often provide information about natural disasters affecting your area. Use your community’s resources to prepare.

  • WEAs: The national weather service provides free Wireless Emergency Updates (WEAs)—text message warnings and updates customized to your area. Check with your wireless carrier to make sure your device is WEA-capable and the service is enabled. Capable devices automatically receive government updates.
  • Check out apps like Weather Bug and Simple Weather Alert that offer weather warnings straight to your phone or desktop.
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio for information.

2. Know where to find shelter locations and learn how to “shelter in place”: Make sure you know where in your home is the safest and what community resources you can rely on to help you if you are not able to get home. If you have children, investigate the emergency response plan at their school to double-check their safety outside the home.

  • Hurricanes: Turn off propane tanks and small appliances. Switch your fridge and freezer to the highest setting and secure them closed if possible (if the power goes out you’ll want the cold to last as long as possible). Close all windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If possible, board up any windows without hurricane shutters (hurricane specific items to keep in the kit discussed below).
  • Tornadoes and Thunderstorms: Know where your safest underground shelter is at work and at home, i.e.: basement, storm cellar, etc. If you do not have an underground shelter, find your most protected interior room such as a closet, hallway, or bathroom.
  • Floods: When you receive a flood warning, whether at home or outside, move immediately to higher ground. If you are outdoors, be aware of drainage channels, canyons, or streams nearby. They fill with water quickly and may cut off your evacuation route.
  • Earthquakes: Secure furnishings, decor, and appliances to avoid damage or injury during ground movement.
  • Safe Spots: Know the safe spots in your home—inside walls and under furniture—and areas in your home to avoid near hanging objects, windows, and mirrors.
  • Self Protection: When an earthquake starts, drop to your hands and knees and move to the nearest safe spot immediately while covering your head and neck. Secure yourself and continue bracing your head and neck.
  • Fire: When a fire occurs in your home, get out and stay out. Move to safety before calling 911. Create a map of your home and memorize all possible exits to escape the fire. Practice low-crawling and Stop, Drop & Roll. Select a meeting place for your family so everyone knows where to go once they get out safely.
  • Evacuation Preparedness: City or community-wide evacuations can be chaotic and scary; keep yourself calm and safe by preparing ahead. Make sure your safety kit (below) is accessible in the event you need to evacuate quickly. Keep extra fuel available for your vehicle—you may not have enough warning to get to a gas station before needing to evacuate. Visit your local community website to learn the evacuation procedures and locations for your area so you know what to do. Obey evacuation orders immediately. Stalling to “see if you really need to” puts yourself and others in danger and taxes emergency personnel unduly.

 

Compliments of Virtual Results

Use Memorial Day Sales to Your Home’s Advantage!

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Memorial Day SalesKeeping your home comfortable and up-to-date seems like an expensive endeavor. With trends changing so fast, our wallets can hardly keep up! Lucky for us, Memorial Day is just around the corner. If you shop smart at the sales this holiday you can give your home the facelift you desire.

5 Simple and Affordable Options to Look for Deals on This Holiday:

1. Curtains: For bathrooms, bedrooms, or living rooms, a simple curtain change can do wonders to the look of your room. Memorial Day is great for getting those curtains you have been lusting after for months, on clearance! Look for great deals on trending summer patterns. If you shop early and wisely, you can update multiple rooms in your home by making the one simple change.

2. Couch and Chair Covers: Want to lighten your furniture for summer? Look for great couch covers to change up your look and create a blank canvas for new colors and patterns. Try out upholstery changes in your dining room by purchasing chair covers with patterns and colors similar to upholstery changes you might be considering.

3. Throw Pillows and Blankets: Experiment with new colors and patterns without breaking your budget or making big changes to your home using pillows and throws. Find new styles to mix and match this summer and let them marinate in your home a couple months before you make more permanent renovations.

4. Duvet Covers: Give your boudoir multiple personalities to match your different moods! You will keep your wallet in check by giving yourself simple ways to switch it up without making large purchases.

5. Rugs: Rugs come in varying sizes, shapes and prices but you don’t have to make a large investment to get something classic, classy and fun. Summer rugs are usually lightweight canvas, jute, and sisal. These materials add a fresh, airiness to your home that is great for warmer months. Shop rug sales over the next few weeks and grab yourself a second option to use until winter!

Great Stores for Home Decor Deals:

Online and Off

TIP: Many of these stores offer their best deals on site instead of online. This being the case, we remind you of a typical sales tip. GO EARLY! Most of these shops are located in or near malls; you might only be shopping decor but everyone and their mother is shopping for something. Be sure to get in early to get what you want!

Online Only Shopping

TIP: Many stores/brands also have an Amazon or Wayfair presence in addition to their brick and mortar location or even their own website. Since consumers expect to find deals at these locations, sometimes it is best to find what you want online then search for it again at a place like Amazon—pricing is not always different, but when every dollar counts, it is worth the extra Googling.

Plus! Do not forget to check in with your local boutiques. They might be small but they love to get you a good deal too! Big stores seem to have better sales, but a truly unique home comes form that special piece that only you have.

TIP: Check in with your favorite boutiques early and make sure you know when their sales start. Small shops do not carry as much inventory as chain stores and they tend to start their sales a couple days (or weekends) early to keep up with the competition.

Our Gift to You! Here are some links to promo codes and coupons for upcoming sales!

Compliments of Virtual Results

Enjoy the Backyard of Your Home More

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Enjoy the Backyard of Your Home MoreSpring is in the air and its time to journey outside your home and enjoy the crisp air, beautiful flowers and sunshine.  Chances are you will find yourself spending more time outside enjoying this new season and catching up with the pruning, trimming and gardening around your home.

You may have recently bought a home and have plans to create a playground in your backyard or outdoor kitchen, too.

Whatever your reason for stepping outside, you’ll probably notice some areas you can improve around your home, before summer comes and you begin a season of entertaining outdoors.  As you look over your backyard or patio, take the time to notice the feelings you have in that space.

Is the yard of your home relaxing and inviting?

Your week is filled with the hustle-bustle of life, with time constraints, and demands placed upon you by others, shouldn’t your evenings and weekends be a time of enjoyment and reflection?

If you agree that your home and its exterior space should be an oasis of sorts, start small and consider adding a fountain or fire pit to your landscaping to make your yard more retreat-like.  Perhaps a backyard swing or an outdoor kitchen is more to your liking.  Gather your dreams in online ideabooks on websites like Houzz or Zillow digs and plan out the next project for your home.  Just thinking about it will make you smile.

Vacationing Away From Your Home

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Vacationing Away From Your Home

Warmer weather and cloud-free skies may have you dreaming of leaving your home for a vacation.

No matter where you choose to journey for your break away trip, take the time to make preparations to your home before leaving.

A few smart steps toward protecting your home while you are way, could mean the world to you when you return.

 

Tips For Securing Your Home

 

  • Appoint a look-out.  Ask a good friend or “watch-worthy” neighbor to keep an eye on your place while you’re away.
  • Wait until after you return from vacation to post your photos to Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.  Otherwise you are alerting “friends” and others that may be less than friendly of your absence.
  • Think about ways to keep your home from looking empty while you are vacationing.  From house sitters and timers to placing holds on your mail and newspaper delivery, there is plenty you can do to make your home seem less vacant. 
  • Secure your garage door and any pet entrances with locks before leaving town as it can provide easier access to your home.
  • Timed lights, a well-kept home, and motion detectors can be a deterrent to thieves as well.
  • And although pets can be a great deterrent to those who may harm your home, when you leave town, you must make arrangements for their boarding and care.

 

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